Comelec to unseat councilor


Reelected Quezon City Councilor Roderick Paulate will be booted out very soon by the Commission on Election (Comelec) since he is not qualified to hold public office for life.

This was the argument of journalist-turned-politician Rick Bello, as he is optimistic that the Comelec will decide in his favor in connection with the complaint he slapped against Paulate.

Bello, a pastor and a former journalist, said he filed a complaint before the Comelec because Paulate was not qualified to run for any position, including city councilor or even a barangay (village) official because the Office of the Ombudsman said in its decision last January 21 that Paulate penalized with “perpetual disqualification for holding office” in connection with graft charges filed against him about “ghost employees.”

Bello ran for city councilor for Quezon City’s second district as an independent candidate in the May 9 elections and placed seven in the race.

Thus, Bello lost in his first try in politics.

Paulate, who ran under the Liberal Party (LP), whose head in the city is Mayor Herbert Bautista, ended up in sixth place.

Each district has six councilors.

Paulate filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) last October.

At that time, the Office of the Ombudsman was not done yet with Paulate’s case.

After he learned the decision, Paulate asked for a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the Court of Appeal (CA).

CA has not yet issued its decision on the matter.

Nevertheless, Paulate proceeded with his reelection bid.

Bautista was expected to respect the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman, but he did not stop Paulate from running.

Bautista and Paulate are publicly known as long-time friends, since both came from show business.

It can be recalled that Ombudsman Conchita Morales previously said Paulate has clearly violated the Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Law in connection with the “ghost employees” scam.

Thus, Paulate was ordered perpetually disqualified to hold any position in the government, according to the Ombudsman.

In the same decision, Paulate was also ordered to return the salary he received for a one-year period.

Carpio said anti-graft probers of the Office of the Ombudsman found out that the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on charges of ghost employees against the councilor were sufficient grounds that pinned Paulate down on corruption charges.

Paulate, together with other newly elected and reelected Quezon City officials, will take their oath of office on June 30.

Bello stressed that he is extremely confident that the Comelec will unseat Paulate, as he completely followed all the requirements of the poll body in filing a protest.

Bello added that he is very much prepared to serve his constituents in District 2 once the Comelec has granted his complaint.


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